There are to be 20,000 more police officers on the streets of Britain under new plans announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “come down hard on crime”.
In a video posted on his Twitter on Sunday, Johnson also vowed to boost the police’s stop-and-search powers and promised to create 10,000 more prison places.
“We need to come down hard on crime. That means coming down hard on criminals,” the Conservative leader said in an op-ed in the Mail on Sunday.
The new powers, trialled under an existing pilot project, would be extended to an additional 8,000 police officers in England and Wales who would no longer require authorization from a senior officer to stop and search suspects.
The move comes as Britain faces rising knife crime and just days after a London police officer was seriously injured in a machete attack.
The anti-crime drive also comes amid rising tensions within British society over the country’s chaotic bid to leave the European Union.
Local media have speculated that Johnson, who took over from Theresa May last month as leader of the country and the Conservative Party, is readying for a snap election as the parliamentary deadlock over Brexit drags on.
Johnson has controversially vowed to stick to an Oct. 31 deadline for Brexit, even if there is no deal in place to regulate the country’s departure from the bloc.
“Extending Section 60 powers [to stop and search] over the summer is a tried and tested recipe for unrest, not violence reduction,” said Diane Abbott, a leading member of the opposition Labour Party.